Skip to main content

A mother in pain is Mother India in pain: story of a senior citizen amidst Freedom@75

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava* 

Mother India celebrates 75 years of independence of which Anuradha Bal has witnessed 73 years. While witnessing the building of the nation, Anuradha also built her life from childhood in West Bengal to over half the century in the sleepy town of Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.
She spent all her life as a teacher at the Khalsa Higher Secondary School in Dayalband and taking care of her four daughters (even after their marriage). With meagre salary of hers and that of her husband, like many parents they faced hardships together to give the children the best education and the values possible.
Looking back in retrospection, Anuradha implicitly built an alternate career of a mini-builder. On August 14 she visited the four houses that she resided in Bilaspur in the last 55 years, one where she was brought after marriage and the other three that she built with strategic savings and profits from building and selling properties. This strategy brought a dignified living for all.
After retirement and finishing her responsibilities as wife and mother, when it is the time to live peacefully and reflect upon the life lived, Anuradha is in distress by things that should not have occurred. Despite her financial security, good health and social life, she is stressed to live in her own house by none other than her own child.
This narration tells the helplessness of a mother-teacher, now a senior citizen, to battle out her right to live with dignity. What is inspiring is her motivation and dedication to fight for her right to live with dignity.
In a country that is really working hard on the problems of patriarchy, what do you do when a woman is unsupportive of another woman, that too mother-daughter. When a mother (parent) works hard to raise her children, how does it feel when later her child/ren start misusing the biological rights? When a teacher teaches her students to be a good human being, how does it feel when a student starts applying (misusing) the education, the position and the power acquired on the very teacher?
To add to it, how does it feel when the system from the top to bottom undermines the right of the senior citizen and puts her into the long bureaucratic procedures? Anuradha is still lucky to be educated and strong woman to fight it out for her right, wondering how the uneducated-weak women are distressed.
And we are embarrassingly talking about New India, Azadi, 5 Trillion, Vishwaguru, etc. etc. when over 4.70 crore cases are pending in various courts in the country to resolve only the internal matters, of which most of them the poor-vulnerable-senior citizen-women, victimized by the sheer systematic processes of bureaucracy.
This narration of Anuradha tells the state of a lot of mothers in the country, who work selflessly for their child/ren but unfortunately many suffer towards the end of their lives. As India houses among the highest number of distressed/abandoned mothers/women in the world after they are widowed or cheated by their spouse and/or child/ren.
Most of the women before they are robbed of their belongings and dignity have usually lived dignified life and wishing wellbeing of their spouse/siblings. This narration is also a learning for the would-be mothers on the dos and donts. Like Anuradha regrets the most about having four daughters in the urge/pressure to have a son. This narration is also to put some questions to self and the society.
In today’s time of urbanization, the social character of the neighborhoods is alienated making the lives of senior citizens and women are extremely challenging. Often the society gives the onus to the children to take care of the parents at the old age, rightfully so, but ‘where they should be taken care’ remains a difficult puzzle.
It is often challenging for children to take care of the parents physically if they migrate to other cities for livelihood and their family. Then, moving the parents to the new place is also challenging, as they feel uprooted from their base (physical-social life). Under such circumstances, the least the children can ensure is a safe and peaceful life at a place where the parents prefer to live.
To add to it, the least the system can do is to attend to the needs of the senior citizens with more empathy and urgency. Then there are also instances (like in Bilaspur) where old-age homes are in poor conditions and new old-age homes are not inhabited/preferred where many like Anuradha do not wish to move, especially when they feel financially, emotionally and physically well.
Anuradha built her house with her hard-earned savings, and if she wishes to live there peacefully until the end of her life, it must be respected and ensured by the child/ren and the system. Instead, she is pushed to live in stress by a child further augmented by poor support from the system.
She fought a legal battle for six years to claim her right to live with dignity in her own house and got the judgement in her favour. It has been nearly seven months since then that the system is yet to implement the judgement that Anuradha prayed and got in her favour. As we see in the televisions and films, Anuradha too has moved from office to office to just request the system to respect the order. But alas!
Like every/any citizen, Anuradha is entitled to her fundamental Right to Live with dignity to be ensured by the system especially after she fought the battle for it and won it. The Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the life and personal liberty to all persons. It guarantees the right of persons to life with human dignity. Therein are included, all the aspects of life which go to make a person's life meaningful, complete and worth living.
Anuradha lives in Nagdaoney Colony at Vyapar Vihar. All that she is seeking support from her children and the system is support her in living with peace and dignity in her house that she built brick by brick. She needs support of the city that she devoted her life by raising wonderful citizens through her teachings and obeying the system that runs the law and order of the city.
She is probably a teacher to thousands of students in Bilaspur (and outside) who are now good citizens and doing well. Through this narration, it is a shout from her to all the Bilaspurians, and especially to her friends, seniors, juniors, from the Khalsa Higher Secondary School; to people of the Tehsil Office, where her husband worked his entire life; and to her past and present neighbours; to support her in requesting the system to just provide her the right to live in her house with dignity by just doing an ordinary thing, follow the law of the land.
A common societal question-cum-suggestion is, ‘Why don’t you take your mother and take care of her?’ Yes, I can definitely do that, and I must do that, I admit. Well, it is often tagged as a family matter.
However, a simple question still remains to ask to the society and the system. If someone wishes to live in her own house with her belongings and peace and is seeking support in that, first, can the society and the system respect and support in her right to do so? There is a social-administrative matter entangled with her personal-family matter.
Despite the efforts, since it feels helpless in the bureaucratic processes, this is also a shout from me to all the Bilaspurians and to my friends from the Burgess Higher Secondary School where I did my schooling that please request the system to do an ordinary thing: follow the law of the land.
In a country that cannot ensure reducing the pain of the mother by just simply following the law, there is a long way to reducing the pain of Mother India, importantly the pain of the those who have already served the family and the society all her life, a mother-a senior citizen.
---
*Entrepreneur, researcher, educator, speaker, mentor; see more on her here: www.mansee.in

Comments

TRENDING

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

Why Bose's India Gate statue suggests RSS, BJP need violence-loving ‘Hindu’ Netaji

By Prem Singh*  In a TV channel debate, a BJP spokesperson and anchor shared and served a lie that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's daughter in her letter to the Prime Minister has alleged that the Congress kept devaluing Netaji to further Gandhi's non-violence; because Netaji had taken the path of liberating the country through violence mode by forming the Azad Hind Fauj (INA). They also praised the Bombay Royal Naval Mutiny of 1946 to confirm that the country got its independence through a violent route. I stated that I have read the letter of Netaji's daughter, and there is no such allegation in it. But a lie told in the intoxication of power is bound to be blatant. Netaji's daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, even in the past, has already requested some earlier prime ministers of the country to bring back the mortal remains of her father from Japan to India. In none of the letters she has spoken about devaluation of her father’s role in the freedom movement on the basis of Gandh

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so

Pesticide companies' lobbying 'seriously impairing' basics of governance, regulation

Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi*  The Indian agricultural sector is grappling with low incomes, shortage of natural resources, increasing pest incidence and low public investments in research and extension. Pest attacks are increasing. Previously unknown pests are attacking crops. Farmers, indebted as they are due to various market mechanisms, are finding it hard to protect their crop investments. Thus, farmers are pushed into the conundrum of pesticide usage by pesticide markets and companies. Pesticide usage in India is increasingly becoming a regulatory problem. Regulation has not been effective in the face of such challenges. Scientific expertise on pesticides is often subsumed in the policy tradeoffs that, in the ultimate scenario, encourage production and marketing of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). Expert Committee reports, which are recommending withdrawal of certain HHPs, are not being acted upon. Lobbying by pesticide companies has seriously impaired the basics of governance an

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Is coal import dependence of more than 50% by 2047 of any relevance to India?

By Shankar Sharma*  I have read the article " Building Resilience in India’s Power Sector " by N Vedachalam, released by the Observer Research Foundation, with a lot of interest. I expected it to provide few useful recommendations to our authorities in charting out a sustainable pathway to green energy transition much before the climate catastrophe push our communities to the precipice. But I am sorry to say that the overall discussions or the message implied in the article disappointed me. I was expecting the article, coming from an engineer with past experience in the power sector, to discuss the much needed recommendations to put the power sector on a sustainable developmental pathway. But I could notice mostly technical jargon and a lot of statistical information, which may already be available in the public domain.   The article also seems to have simply accepted what some of the official agencies seem to have indicated as inevitable for the power sector in our country;

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.